The Poems of Jonathan Swift, D.D., Volume 1

Jonathan Swift
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Volume I (of 2), by Jonathan Swift, Edited by William Ernst Browning
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Title: The Poems of Jonathan Swift, D.D., Volume I (of 2)
Author: Jonathan Swift
Release Date: December 14, 2004 [eBook #14353]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
E-text prepared by Clare Boothby, G. Graustein, and the Project
Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team
Edited by
Barrister, Inner Temple
Author of "The Life of Lord Chesterfield"
G. Bell and Sons, Ltd.

[Illustration: Jonathan Swift
From the bust by Cunningham in St.
Patrick's Cathedral]
The works of Jonathan Swift in prose and verse so mutually illustrate
each other, that it was deemed indispensable, as a complement to the
standard edition of the Prose Works, to issue a revised edition of the
Poems, freed from the errors which had been allowed to creep into the
text, and illustrated with fuller explanatory notes. My first care,
therefore, in preparing the Poems for publication, was to collate them
with the earliest and best editions available, and this I have done.
But, thanks to the diligence of the late John Forster, to whom every
lover of Swift must confess the very greatest obligation, I have been
able to do much more. I have been able to enrich this edition with some
pieces not hitherto brought to light--notably, the original version of
"Baucis and Philemon," in addition to the version hitherto printed; the
original version of the poem on "Vanbrugh's House"; the verses entitled
"May Fair"; and numerous variations and corrections of the texts of
nearly all the principal poems, due to Forster's collation of them with
the transcripts made by Stella, which were found by him at Narford
formerly the seat of Swift's friend, Sir Andrew Fountaine--see Forster's
"Life of Swift," of which, unfortunately, he lived to publish only the
first volume. From Swift's own copy of the "Miscellanies in Prose and
Verse," 1727-32, with notes in his own handwriting, sold at auction last
year, I was able to make several corrections of the poems contained in
those four volumes, which serve to show how Swift laboured his works,
and revised and improved them whenever he had an opportunity of
doing so. It is a mistake to suppose that he was indifferent to literary
fame: on the contrary, he kept some of his works in manuscript for
years in order to perfect them for publication, of which "The Tale of a
Tub," "Gulliver's Travels," and the "Verses on his own Death" are
I am indebted to Miss Wilmot-Chetwode, of Wordbrooke, for the loan
of a manuscript volume, from which I obtained some various readings.

By the advice of Mr. Elrington Ball, I applied to the librarians of
Trinity College and of the National Library, and from the latter I
received a number of pieces; but I found that the harvest had already
been reaped so fully, that there was nothing left to glean which could
with certainty be ascribed to Swift. On the whole, I believe that this
edition of the Poems will be found as complete as it is now possible to
make it.
In the arrangement of the poems, I have adopted nearly the same order
as in the Aldine edition, for the pieces seem to fall naturally into those
divisions; but with this difference, that I have placed the pieces in their
chronological order in each division. With regard to the notes in
illustration of the text, many of them in the Dublin editions were
evidently written by Swift, especially the notes to the "Verses on his
own Death." And as to the notes of previous editors, I have retained
them so far as they were useful and correct: but to many of them I have
made additions or alterations wherever, on reference to the authorities
cited, or to other works, correction became necessary. For my own
notes, I can only say that I have sought to make them concise,
appropriate to the text, and, above all, accurate.
Swift and the educated men of his time thought in the classics, and his
poems, as well as those of his friends, abound with allusions to the
Greek and Roman authors, especially to the latter. I have given all the
references, and except in the imitations and paraphrases of so familiar a
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